Towards the Moon – Chandrayaan 2

Lunar Explorations have been going on since the late 1900s, started with the USA and followed by the USSR, China, Japan, and India. India started exploring the moon and delivering an impact in the 2000s when the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched its first ‘moon vehicle’- Chandrayaan-1. Chandrayaan-1 was the first spacecraft to discover traces of Lunar Water and detect Water Ice on the North Polar region of the moon. Chandrayaan-2 is a mission where the southern pole of the moon would be explored, which till date, has been lurking in shadows, unexplored by humans.

Lunar mission was approved on September 18, 2008. Slowly and steadily, the ISRO Team worked on this project until finally, on July 9,2019, the launch window opened. The launch took place on July 22, 2019, at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Andhra Pradesh. The original and official launch, scheduled on 14th July 2019, was postponed an hour before the launch because of technical problems while filling the cryogenic engine with helium. The spacecraft is designed with India’s best launcher till date- The GSLV MK-III; and a landerexpected to provide the first smooth Lunar Landing of India- The Vikram Lander. The Pragyan Rover (Pragyanmeans Wisdom) is a 6 wheeled AI which would transmit data to the lander, which in turn would relay it to the Earth Station. The entire spacecraft is made with precise details and the best technological instruments, with the entire mission costing around Rs. 978 crore.

India’s Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi lauded the mission by saying, “The way our scientists corrected all the technical issues one by one in record time and launched Chandrayaan 2, it is unprecedented in itself. This great feat of our scientists has been seen by the whole world. We all should be proud of this”.He stated that faith and fearlessness are the two teachings that he has received from this mission.

Chandrayaan-2 entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory successfully on the 14th of August, 2019. The most recent update from the Indian Space Research Organization is of 28th August, 2019, where it has been shared that the spacecraft has completed its third Lunar Orbit maneuver successfully, the next happened on 30th August, 2019.

Considering the stereotypical patriarchal attitude towards the Engineering and Space Research field, the contribution of women is an understatement. A recent article of Wired also argues that NASA has built an organization without considering women in the space-traveling program. Even when India itself is trying to cope with gender inequality and feminist movements, there was immense participation of women in regulating and executing this mission. The Project Director and Mission Director of Chandrayaan-2 were Muthaya Vanitha and Ritu Karidhal respectively. Over 30% of women were working on this project. Women influencers, as well as famous personalities all over have commended them for their hardwork. The chairman of ISRO, Dr. K Sivan said that even when many women are project directors of other communication satellite programs, they have clearly made a mark in the outer-space explorations as well.

It doesn’t matter if you belong to a certain cult or gender.  Dream Big, Dream Out of the Box, Strive to achieve it. Looking from here, there is a long path to traverse. You can be an expert in any field irrespective of your gender. You just have to be willing to achieve it, and the fittest will be at the threshold in no time.

Here the count-down begins…… where we and the whole world is waiting for the Vikram-lander to put its mark on lunar surface. Time has come that Chandrayaan-2 will create the history and the final descent of it will be on lunar south pole in around 2 hours from now.